Background. Despite the recent advances in immunosuppression, steroid-resistant rejection remains a difficult problem in renal transplant recipients. Methods. We reviewed our experience with i.v. immunoglobulin (IVIG) in the treatment of steroid- and antilymphocyte antibody-resistant rejection in renal transplant patients. Between September 1996 and March 1999, 17 patients were treated with IVIG to reverse steroid- or antilymphocyte antibody-resistant rejection. A total of 2 g/kg of MG was administered to patients during each treatment course. Results. With a mean follow-up of 21.5±9.5 months from the time of IVIG administration, patient and graft survival rates were 94% (16/17) and 71% (12/17), respectively. The baseline mean serum creatinine level prior to rejection was 2.2±0.7 mg/dl and peaked at 3.3±1.1 mg/dl at the time of the diagnosis of refractory rejection. IVIG therapy was associated with a fall in the mean creatinine to 2.8±1.1 mg/dl. The most recent serum creatinine in patients with functioning grafts was 2.8±1.6 mg/dl. In 82% of allograft biopsies after IVIG, reversal or reduction in the severity of rejection was demonstrated. In addition, IVIG therapy rescued three of four patients with antilymphocyte antibody-resistant rejection. Conclusions. IVIG rescue therapy for steroid- or antilymphocyte antibody-resistant rejection is associated with resolution or improvement of rejection severity, stable renal function, and reasonable graft survival.
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